American and Russian Astronauts Make Emergency Landing After Rocket Fails

The two crew members made it safely to Earth.

The Soyuz-FG rocket booster with Soyuz MS-10 space ship carrying a new crew to the International Space Station, ISS, blasts off. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

A rocket carrying an American and a Russian astronaut failed minutes into liftoff Thursday morning, reports The New York Times. The space agencies of both countries said that the two crew members safely made an emergency return to Earth.

The capsule had parachuted to Earth about 12 to 15 miles outside Zhezqazghan, a small city in central Kazakhstan. Neither crew member was injured.

Trouble was reported eight minutes after the Russian Soyuz rocket liftoff, when NASA tweeted, “There’s been an issue with the booster from today’s launch.”

Eleven minutes later, NASA added that the crew was returning to Earth.

The agency explained that the crew was returning in “ballistic descent mode,” which meant that it was falling without propulsion and that its direction was determined only by the craft’s momentum. It also means a “sharper angle of landing compared to normal,” which could be a threat to the crew’s safety.

But a little more than an hour after launch, Dmitri Rogozin, chief of Roscosmos, the Russian space program, said that the crew had been rescued, and a “state commission has been established to investigate the causes” of failure, according to The New York Times. 

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